(JTA) — Roger Cukierman, the president of France’s largest Jewish group, was indicted for calling the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala a “professional anti-Semite.”
Cukierman announced the indictment on Monday in a video that appeared on his umbrella group’s website.
“So I am being indicted for having stated on Europe 1 that Dieudonne is a professional anti-Semite. Isn’t that funny? For once, Dieudonne is actually comical,” Cukierman said.
Indictments are “quasi-automatic” in France when police receive complaints of defamation, according to the L’Express news website.
Responding to the indictment, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, extended its support for Cukierman.
“No one in France knows anti-Semitism better than Roger Cukierman, who survived the Holocaust at the age of nine because nuns hid him while his family was deported to Auschwitz and gassed there,” the Drancy-based watchdog wrote in a statement Tuesday.
Dieudonne has 10 convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews, according to CRIF. He also invented the quenelle, a Nazi-like gesture that many have deemed anti-Semitic, and the term “shoananas,” a mash-up of the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and the French word for pineapple that is used to suggest that the genocide never happened without explicitly violating French laws.
Earlier this year, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls — then the interior minister — advised mayors to ban Dieudonne’s shows, leading to their cancellation. The comedian’s replacement routine featured less anti-Semitic material.
Dieudonne and the far-right Holocaust denier Alain Soral recently decided to form a political party, the news site Mediapart.fe reported Tuesday.
Last week, Dieudonne was indicted for fraud, money laundering and abuse of public funds, Le Monde reported. It is believed that Dieudonne, who declared he had no money to pay fines he received for his hate speech, transferred more than $500,000 to Cameroon while he declared himself to be insolvent.